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S. 3106 (114th): Secure the Northern Triangle Act

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Jun 28, 2016.

Secure the Northern Triangle Act

This bill expresses the sense of Congress that the United States must address the violence and humanitarian crisis resulting in the elevated numbers of unaccompanied children, women, and refugees from the Northern Triangle (El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras) arriving at the southwestern border of the United States.

The bill authorizes appropriations for the United States Strategy for Engagement in Central America.

Funds are made available for combating criminal violence and corruption and advancing economic development.

The President shall designate a senior official to coordinate federal and international efforts to strengthen the rule of law and economic prosperity in Central America.

The Department of State shall submit a three-year strategy to secure international and regional support for the Plan of the Alliance for Prosperity in the Northern Triangle.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) shall expand law enforcement partnership efforts in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico to combat human smuggling and trafficking.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) and DHS shall expand collaborative programs aimed at human smugglers and traffickers targeting Central American children and families.

The bill prohibits: (1) knowingly tracking or transmitting the location or activities of law enforcement agents with the intent to gain financially in furtherance of a violation of immigration, customs, or other border controls; and (2) destroying or damaging any physical or electronic device used by the federal government to control the border or any port of entry.

The bill provides for: (1) increased sanctions against foreign narcotics traffickers and their foreign supporters operating in Central or South America; (2) increased resources for, and expedited processing under, the Central American Minors (CAM) program; and (3) strengthening the capacity of Mexico and other regional countries to provide asylum and global resettlement.

The Office of Refugee Resettlement of the Department of Health and Human Services shall perform record checks of prospective sponsors prior to placing an unaccompanied alien child with a sponsor.

DHS shall: (1) monitor unaccompanied alien children after placement, and (2) provide funds to states for criminal registry and child abuse searches of prospective sponsors.

The Department of Education shall provide funds to eligible school districts for unaccompanied alien children.

A local educational agency shall: (1) ensure that unaccompanied alien children in the area are immediately enrolled in school following placement, and (2) remove enrollment and participation barriers.

DHS shall: (1) ensure that legal orientation programs are available for all DHS-detained aliens, and (2) consult with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees to develop a child-centered repatriation process.

DOJ may appoint or provide legal counsel to individuals in immigration proceedings and shall appoint legal counsel for children and vulnerable individuals in such proceedings.

DOJ shall increase the number of immigration judges and Board of Immigration Appeals attorneys.